Westminster resident Lisa Green’s son is on the autism spectrum. And he has dealt with bullying during his time in the Carroll County Public Schools system, she said.
Students have stolen his laptop, she said. They’ve stolen his drawing book and put inappropriate things in it, she said.
Students like her son, who lack certain social skills, Green said, will do anything to get accepted. And that includes accepting abusive behavior, she said.
“It literally demeans these students,” she added.
Green’s bullying concerns were just one of a handful brought up Monday night during a Carroll County Public Schools Board of Education town meeting. A small group of parents, staff and school board members came out to Westminster High School’s media center for the discussion where bullying, in addition to over-testing, were areas of concern.
Superintendent Stephen Guthrie gave updates about the budget and declining enrollment, and the school calendar. Board President Devon Rothschild also discussed the school board’s new ambassador program.
But Monday’s discussion focused primarily on bullying, be it when dealing with students with autism or special needs, the LGBTQ+ community or minority students.
Joy Fisher, Westminster resident and president of the county’s PFLAG chapter, said that dealing with bullying issues can’t wait until a student reports it. Often, she said, students are afraid to report to a teacher, something that intensifies if LGBTQ+ students haven’t come out to their family.
“There are too many statistics … that prove that bullying happens for us to believe that it’s not happening in our school system,” Fisher said.
Rothschild said the school board is working hard to make sure that diversity and a zero tolerance policy on bullying are at the forefront of its strategic plan.
She acknowledged that students may not report the issues, and so the board needs to take an approach from the top to let all schools know that…